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Robert Downey Jr. is up for returning to the MCU... if someone can convince Kevin Feige to bring him back

Comic books might have a revolving door policy with death, but the MCU doesn't

Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man 3
Image credit: Marvel Studios

Few moments in comic book movie history have had the same impact as Iron Man’s death during Avengers: Endgame. Not only was it the emotional end to the decade-long Infinity Saga, but it was also the end of Robert Downey Jr.’s time in the MCU – at least, we all assumed it would be. It is hard to justify undoing such an emotional moment, but that doesn’t mean that people don’t keep asking both Downey Jr. and Kevin Feige if we’ll see the actor return to the MCU.

The speculation started almost as soon as Tony Stark snapped his fingers and reduced Thanos’ armies to dust back in 2019, but the speculation has increased as Marvel has struggled to recapture the magic that made them one of the most successful movie studios in recent history. Rumors about bringing individual members or even the whole team from the first Avengers movie have floated around, with Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige repeatedly swatting them down.

However, it looks like RDJ himself is happy to play the mischief-maker and stoke the rumors of his return once again. In a recent interview with Esquire, which covered the full length of Downey Jr.’s career, he admitted that he’d “happily” return to the role of Tony Stark, saying “It’s too integral a part of my DNA. That role chose me.” And, to his credit, it is difficult to see anyone else in that role now. He owned that role in a way that makes recasting him nigh impossible.

With the recent downturn in their success at the box office and a strong desire by the studio to recapture the magic of the early MCU era, we don’t expect these rumors to go away anytime soon. Even though RDJ doesn’t think the studio needs him to recapture their past success – he told Esquire in the same interview “I always say never, ever bet against Kevin Feige. It is a losing bet. He’s the house. He will always win.” – so long as Marvel Studios appears to be struggling to find its rhythm, people are going to ask Feige if it is time to bring Robert Downey Jr. back as Iron Man.

Who knows – eventually he might even say yes.

Popverse has assembled everything you need to know about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, from our MCU watch order to a guide to upcoming Marvel movies and TV shows. Plus, we've taken the time to rank the entire MCU and compile the biggest outstanding questions from Marvel's connected films. Enjoy.